Conflict Prevention and Conflict Resolution

Conflicts exist in all countries and at every level of society. Conflict in itself is not necessarily negative, but rather an expression of differences of interest and usually involves the struggle for justice, equal treatment and development. However, when a conflict is not handled by peaceful means, when it escalates and people resort to violence, the negative impacts can be enormous.

A common and often overlooked reason for escalation and violence is the lack of mechanisms and institutions to address conflicts in a constructive manner. Conflict preventive and resolutive work is undertaken in order to avoid the occurrence of violence and its escalation and recurrence.

Dialogue and mediation are important tools in such work. A dialogue process is an open-ended discussion that entails listening, understanding, and the sharing of perspectives. A mediation process is more formalized, with a mediator providing a framework for negotiations aimed at reaching a concrete settlement, such as a peace agreement. Mediation processes are often instituted when a conflict has escalated and positions are more entrenched than previously.

Reconciliation is an important tool to prevent the recurrence of violence in a society emerging from conflict. Half of all violent conflicts re-emerge five years after the signing of a peace agreement. As such, a course of reconciliation is vital in a post-conflict society and must encompass the majority of the society’s members - whether perpetrators or victims, active or passive, in the underlying struggle.

Reconciliation can involve various approaches and activities. However, official reconciliation processes tend to include scrutiny of the past to establish the truth of what happened during the conflict, the consideration of elements of justice to redress victims, compensation in the form of reparations or memorials and national mourning days, and apologies at official or personal level.

In international peace missions in conflict areas, civilian observers play an increasingly important role. The observers’ mandate differ, but their role is often to monitor and follow up on human rights violations or to oversee the implementation of peace or armistice agreements. Their work is important and helps the international community to understand and resolve ongoing conflicts.

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MORE FROM HOME

Looking back at a year of election observation

Liberia, Kyrgyzstan and Honduras. Kenya, Kosovo and Nepal. Those are just a handful of the countries that have held elections during 2017, to which FBA has deployed election observers. “It has been an exciting year. And 2018 looks just as interesting, with forthcoming elections in Russia, Cambodia and Zimbabwe, only to name a few”, says Maja Tjernström who works with election observation at FBA.

2017-12-22 14:37

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Putting Civilians First: NGO Perceptions and Expectations of UN Peacekeeping

NGOs and UN peacekeeping operations increasingly operate in a shared domain. NGOs commonly rely – at least partly – on UN peacekeepers for access and security, but they also express concerns about this. Yet remarkably little is known about what are their main concerns and how widespread they are. Even more importantly, what can be done to address them? This FBA Brief, written by members of one of the FBA’s research working groups, examines the answers to those questions.

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Author:
Han Dorussen, Marian de Vooght
Year:
2018

IN THE FIELD

THE FBA BLOG

  • Posted by Andreas Berg

    Back ‘home’ in Kosovo and remembering old lessons

    The distinct smell of coal dust creeps into your nose as soon as you step off the plane in Pristina, a strange and familiar welcome back greeting for those of us intimate with this small corner of Europe. I felt it again in November 2017 when I came to Kosovo for a few days of visiting old friends and colleagues. For anyone with strong memories of living in a foreign country, you will remember the joys ... Read entire post »

    2017-12-13 11:21
  • Posted by Sabrina Karim

    Liberia after Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

    On November 8 2005, Liberians elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to be the first female president of an African country. She made history that day and she oversaw fourteen years of peace in a country that had experienced two decades of devastating armed conflict. In 2011, she was re-elected and won the Nobel Peace Prize. Her fame and legacy has brought widespread international attention onto Liberia.

    On October 10, 2017, Liberians will go to the polls for the ... Read entire post »

    2017-10-06 15:28
  • Posted by Maja Jakobsson

    Strengthening forces for peace through experience-sharing

    The security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated as of late, with the highest number of conflict-related civilian casualties in 2016 since 2009. The efforts for a formal and sustainable peace process are insufficient and face numerous obstacles. Violent battles between government and Taliban forces have resulted in new districts falling under Taliban power. Attacks by other groups, loyal to the Islamic State, are increasing in numbers.

    Despite this, there are still strong forces for peace in Afghanistan. ... Read entire post »

    2017-09-21 16:18
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Eldridge Adolfo

Eldridge Adolfo is expert on South Sudan, Colombia, Sierra Leone and preventive diplomacy

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